The Bitter Before the Blessing

“Then Moses led the people of Israel away from the Red Sea, and they moved out into the desert of Shur. They traveled in this desert for three days without finding any water. When they came to the oasis of Marah, the water was too bitter to drink. So they called the place Marah (which means ‘bitter’).

Then the people complained and turned against Moses. ‘What are we going to drink?’ they demanded. So Moses cried out to the Lord for help, and the Lord showed him a piece of wood. Moses threw it into the water, and this made the water good to drink.

It was there at Marah that the Lord set before them the following decree as a standard to test their faithfulness to him….

Hope for the Good, the Bad, and the Ugly

Joseph’s brothers had sold him into slavery in his youth, and Joseph experienced being falsely accused, thrown in jail, forgotten and overlooked, and then elevated to the second highest rank in Egypt. Joseph’s story was full of twists and turns, but God was working everything together for good. Instead of carrying bitterness and resentment in his heart, he understood that God was ultimately guiding him. When the famine hit Canaan, Joseph’s family came to Egypt searching for food. Joseph was gracious to them, and they relocated to Egypt and all their needs were met. When their father, Jacob, died, the brothers were concerned. These men were the same people who had mocked Joseph, thrown him into a well to die, and sold him into slavery. Was Joseph carrying anger and revenge in his heart all of these years?…

Miracle of His Nearness

Scripture: “Jesus left Tyre and went up to Sidon before going back to the Sea of Galilee and the region of the Ten Towns. A deaf man with a speech impediment was brought to him, and the people begged Jesus to lay his hands on the man to heal him. Jesus led him away from the crowd

The Posture of a Believing Heart

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When Jesus visited his hometown of Nazareth, people who had grown up with Him had a hard time accepting Him. Everyone was initially impressed with His teaching, but they couldn’t reconcile His authority with His upbringing. They knew His family; they knew Jesus as a carpenter. His neighbors had seen Him build tables and repair homes. He was a tradesman, not a religious teacher. In that moment of basing their understanding of Jesus on their experience, they missed it. The people in Nazareth probably had just as many needs as the people in the other towns, but they experienced less of what Jesus could have done because of their stubborn hearts…